Danish gas-to-feed producer Unibio has inked a strategic partnership agreement with Stafilies, a part of Russian Protelux, for the development of bio-protein production under the Uniprotein brand in Russia.
Protelux is the first industrial plant that has brought Unibio‘s patented U-Loop continuous-flow fermentation process into industrial-scale production.
Protelux is located in Ivangorod, Russia, not far from the European border. This location secures access to cost-effective natural gas, as well as proximity to the European Union and the Baltic Sea for shipping, Unibio said in a statement on its website.
Protelux currently has capacity for 6,000 tonnes of Uniprotein per year, which can be scaled up to 20,000 tonnes.
Under the agreement, Stafilies, the Protelux parent company, will buy a shareholding in Unibio in exchange for cash and intellectual property. The intellectual property includes all of the knowledge gained over the past 5 years of how to install and operate industrial-scale production of Uniprotein. Unibio has also secured an option to acquire a stake in Protelux in the future.
“After many years under development, Uniprotein is now in full industrial-scale production and is ready to help address the world’s rapidly growing protein demand,” Jan Boeg Hansen, Chairman of the Board, Unibio, said in the statement, adding that the collaboration with Protelux is consistent with the company’s strategy of building a presence in the regions where natural gas is in abundance and may be revalued.
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Since 2016, Unibio and Stafilies have worked closely together developing solutions and operational guidelines that will benefit future projects and plants all over the world. With the commencement of industrial-scale production at Protelux, Unibio will benefit from being able to showcase the proven technology and processes to potential partners and customers. It will also use the facility to accelerate further product and production improvements and the global roll-out of its technology.
Valery Afanasyev, President of the Russian Union of Feed Producers, told to local magazine Agroinvestor that, in his opinion, gas-to-feed production is a promising direction. In Russia, the main consumers of bio-protein would be companies producing feed for valuable fish species.
“This is a high-quality protein, close in composition to fishmeal, the deficit of which in recent years in Russia has been ranging from 0.8 million tonnes to 0.9 million tonnes, while previously it reached more than 2.5 million tonnes,” Afanasyev said, adding that bio-protein has to be competitive pricewise against fishmeal to enjoy high demand among customers.